Over the weekend the maiden Global African Diaspora Kumasi Carnival 2019 was held in Kumasi. There was so much energy and the connection between the Caribbean Diaspora and local Ghanaians was strong. Powerful words were spoken by many about staying connected.
Supporting the event was Miss Trinidad & Tobago UK who said for her “Ghana feels like home”.
This is the first, and organisers hope to continue it as an annual event and celebration that attracts travellers every year.
A group from Suriname was there and made some strong statements about coming back home to Ghana and wanting to be embraced by Ghana.
Just before the procession began, the Suriname group wanted to express themselves.
It carnival procession ended with Street Fair and a variety show in the evening.
Ahead of the historic trip to Ghana, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, met with Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, at her office in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 25, 2019.
The speaker extended an invitation to Ghana’s Ambassador to review key matters regarding the upcoming trip.
In his remarks, Ambassador Adjei-Barwuah touched on Ghana’s existing relationship with the United States, and the need to enhance the friendship between the two countries. “Ghana is very excited about this trip, and for us, it’s a call to open a new page to ensure a better relationship.”
On her part, Speaker Pelosi expressed her deepest gratitude to the President and the people of Ghana for commemorating 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. “We go on many trips, but nothing compares to this one. We feel a special connection because of our history. The historical nature of commemorating 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans makes this trip special. Truly, this trip strikes to the heart” the Speaker said.
The visit will include a tour of some of Ghana’s historic slave-trading ports including Elmina and Cape Coast Dungeons, the Slave Heritage site at Assin Manso which houses the remains of slave ancestors brought down from the United States including a former U.S. Naval officer, Samuel Carson among others. A forty-member delegation will accompany the Speaker on this trip including members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The Ambassador was accompanied by Joseph Ngminebayihi, Head of Consular Department, Kofi Tonto, Head of Information & Public Affairs and Bernard Acquah, First Secretary/Political Affairs.
According to President Akufo-Addo, Ghana recognises its unique position as the location for 75 per cent of the slave dungeons built on the West coast of Africa, through which the slaves were transported, adding that “we have a responsibility, and we do extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora.”
2019 marks the 400-year anniversary of the first recorded arrival, in 1619, of the first twenty (20) enslaved Africans in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which was to become part of the United States of America, initiating some of the most barbaric episodes in human history – the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and slavery.
The President, therefore, was hopeful that “the year would prove to be a joyful and learning experience all around for all of us, especially in affirming our determination that never again should the African peoples permit themselves to be subjected to such dehumanising conditions, sold into slavery, and have their freedoms curtailed in order to build up forcibly countries other their own.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 13th June 2019, when he addressed the media after he held bilateral discussions with the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Keith Rowley.
After the launch of the ‘Year of Return’ in Washington D.C.,Ghana continued with the December 2018 Full Circle Festival, involving over 70 African American celebrities visiting Ghana to reconnect with their ancestral heritage.
Additionally, the Home Coming and Investment Summit, the African-American Investment Forum, the Pan-African and Emancipation Day Celebrations, the durbar from Jamestown to Jamestown, the Film Festival, and the Full Circle Festival are some of the activities that will be held to commemorate the year-long event.
“The commemoration should enable us, in the African Union, to consolidate and strengthen our links with our Sixth Region, i.e. the African Diaspora of the so-called ‘New World’, which have laid somewhat dormant, and make operational and extend the Free Movement Protocol to those in the Diaspora seeking to resettle in Africa,” the President stressed.
Kofi Kingston arrived in Ghana yesterday to a big celebration at Kotoka International Airport. Fans and students who couldn’t wait to see the WWE Champion celebrated through song and dance. Kingston joined in with the crowd dancing to the beat as the Ghana flag was draped over him with cheers from the crowd. Even Kotoka International Airport staff were following him taking selfies as he made his way through after customs.
His mother, Dr. Elizabeth Sarkodie-Mensah, along with other family members were there to meet him and were equally overwhelmed with the big reception and couldn’t believe the crowd waiting for him outside the airport. This is his first trip back to Ghana since 1993 and he is eager to reconnect with his homeland. He said that one of his biggest regrets was not coming sooner. Kingston recounted the story of his father, who often travelled to Ghana and brought groups of students with him. He said that as a senior in high school, his priority was to find work rather than make a trip to Ghana.
He said once he was ready to come to Ghana, his hectic schedule has made it challenging to find the time. At the media press-conference, he said that sometimes things happen for a reason because he believes the stars were all aligned for him to make this journey to Ghana during the “Year of Return”. It’s an important time for people in the diaspora to come to Ghana.
He will be spending four days in the country, with time divided between Accra and Kumasi. His first day was jam-packed with a press conference, interviews with the media and a visit to the Jubilee House to meet President Nana Akufo-Addo.
He’s had an eleven-year career and has proven that with hard work, success is possible. “It was a matter of staying the course…. I’m here as living breathing proof that anything is possible.” Many who were seeing him for the first time, were surprised at how small he is, relative to the typical athlete in WWE. He often hears those remarks and said, “I’m not the tallest or the biggest person…but I had dreams and I believed in it.” His perseverance and level of commitment to living his childhood dream prove that success can be achieved with hard work. “Not many people on the planet can say they are living their dream, I’m doing that.”
France24 has in a report looked at how Ghana is increasingly becoming home to hundreds of African-Americans especially in light of the on-going ‘Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ campaign. The report looks at the lives of some African-Americans who have settled in Ghans over the years. Read and watch the report below.
Ghana was one of the main West African departure points for the transatlantic slave trade. Today, the government has launched a campaign to reach out to the descendants of those Africans who were forcibly removed from their homelands. It has dubbed 2019 the “year of return“. Several hundred people have already put down roots in Ghana, many of them African-Americans. Our colleagues from France 2 report, with FRANCE 24‘s James Vasina.
This article comes on the heels of other reviews published earlier in the year.
Watch the programme/video report prepared by Patrick Lovett and James Vasina below.
The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. The arrival of enslaved Africans marked a sordid and sad period, when our kith and kin were forcefully taken away from Africa into years of deprivation, humiliation and torture. While August 2019 marks 400 years since enslaved Africans arrived in the United States, “The Year of Return, Ghana 2019” celebrates the cumulative resilience of all the victims of the Trans Atlantic slave Trade who were scattered and displaced through the world in North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.
The Ghana Tourism Authority(GTA) under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture is leading the project in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President the PANAFEST Foundation and The Adinkra Group of the USA.
One of the main goals of the Year of Return campaign is to position Ghana as a key travel destination for African Americans and the African Diaspora. In 2019, the events planned throughout the year will serve as a launch pad for a consistent boost in tourism for Ghana in the near and distant years. Beyond tourism, this initiative supports one of the President’s key developmental agendas in Ghana Beyond Aid. We know that tourism can be a leading indicator to business and investment.
We are focused on ensuring that our brothers and sisters have a safe, pleasant and wonderful journey home so they will want to come back, get involved, see the opportunity that exists in Ghana for us to work together and begin to rebuild what has been stolen and lost over the past 400 years.
The much-awaited Ghana Tourism Awards to honour deserving facilities in the tourism industry in Ghana for the year 2018 was held at The Event Haven, La on Friday, March 22, 2019. In all 29 awards were presented to organisations and individual in Accommodation, Food and beverage and Entertainment, Travel Trade and Media. In addition, honorary awards were given to six (6) personalities who have contributed to the growth and the development of the Tourism Industry over the years.
The National Tourism Awards was instituted by the Ghana Tourism Authority in 1997 to reward excellent performance in the tourism sector.
It is one of the flagship events of the GTA held annually and it sets the tone for high standards in service delivery among practitioners in the tourism sector.
Awards, including honorary awards, are presented to practitioners and organisations who have made maintained high standards and individuals who have made immense contributions to the growth and development of Ghana’s tourism industry.
The award usually attracts high profile personalities in government, business, politics, academia and practitioners within the tourism industry.
Activities celebrating the Full Circle Festival is drawing to a close as the Country ushers in the Year of Return, Ghana 2019. Officials of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture , Ghana Tourism Authority and office of Diaspora Affairs joined the Chiefs and people of Akwamu to celebrate several Hollywood stars of African descent at a colourful ceremony.
Drawing parallels between the resilience and fighting spirit of the Akwamu people, the Paramount Chief, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, congratulated the star studded entourage for their exploits in the USA which has now made them global icons. Actor Michael Jai White and Marketing icon, Bozoma Saint John were both enstooled as warriors. Hollywood Actor, Boris Kodjoe, who coordinated the trip also came up for special recognition for his untiring efforts in promoting Ghana to the rest of the World.
The Year of Return is a special spiritual and birthright journey being cordinated by the Ghana Tourism Authority to commemorate 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in North America. The initiative has pushed Ghana into 4th place in the list of 19 must visit places in 2019 put together by CNN.
In article by Barry Neild, published some few hour ago, CNN Travel recommended Ghana as one of 19 destinations for 2019 travellers. This comes at the back of a publication by Travel Lemming listing Ghana as one of the top 5 destinations to visit in Africa in 2019.
Singling out efforts marketing Ghana as a destination of choice for diasporans with the #yearofreturn
#Ghana2019 which has outlined programs commemorating 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in North America as key reason. The writer highlights Ghana’s unique selling proposition with his.., “For all the sobriety of this anniversary, what also awaits visitors to Ghana is the warm, intoxicating embrace of country completely at ease with its identity rushing headlong towards a bright future”.
The key attraction for the visitor is the one place where walls built over centuries ago seem to speak to everyone including the Obama’s and Melania Trump and the several thousands who have visited the Cape Coast Castle.
Come and #SeeGhana #EatGhana #WearGhana and #FeelGhana #discoverghana #exploreghana
West Africa’s poster nation for economic success and political stability is hoping to trade up its tourism status for 2019, with a campaign targeting the African diaspora whose ancestors were victims of the brutal slave trade of centuries gone by.
The country’s Year of Return marks 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in North America. It’s a somber recognition of the evil that befell Ghana’s past inhabitants and their descendants — and the strength with which they’ve faced it.
Legacies of the slave trade are unavoidable. Cape Coast Castle, one of many historic coastal forts, was where slaves were held before being dispatched to America and the Caribbean. This brutal and fascinating reminder was visited by the Obamas in 2009 and Melania Trump in 2018.
For all the sobriety of this anniversary, what also awaits visitors to Ghana is the warm, intoxicating embrace of country completely at ease with its identity rushing headlong towards a bright future.
The capital, Accra, crackles with the dynamism of a city on the upswing, with a nightlife scene to match. For those wanting to escape its relentless excitement, Ghana’s 335-mile coastline boasts empty surfing spots like Cape Three Points, while its many protected wildlife zones, including Mole National Park, are home to wild elephants, Nolan warthogs and spotted hyenas.
Don’t miss: Tongo, a village in the Tengzug Hills of northeastern Ghana, is home to the Whistling Rocks — dramatic arrangements of giant granite slabs that produce strange sounds when winds blow down from the Sahara. Barry Neild – Source: CNN Travel
What seemed to be the last major event on the tourism calendar for 2018 did not disappoint patrons. The 2018 Culture Afrochella dubbed #afrochella18 came off at the El-wak Sports Stadium on Saturday December 29, 2018 bringing traffic to a stand-still.
The beautifully and artistically designed entrance was just a foretaste of what was in-stock for patrons. From afrocentric dressing to woodcraft, acrobatic display to foot’pool’, eye-opening paintings to giant candies, the photo opportunities were endless but requiring phones with extra memory space for selfies.
The music was just ‘afrocentrically’ riveting as the food caused taste buds to produce excess saliva. Crowning it all was the evening musical performances that left no room for parking for patrons who arrived late. Patrons are already looking forward to the 2019 edition and organizers have promised nothing but a more exciting event.
A Ghanaian Band Kwan Pa Band, has released what is turning out to be the 2018 Christmas carol which has already gone viral on various social media platforms. Kwan Pa Band gave viewers the hilarious version of the the popular “12 Days of Christmas” carol at Joy Prime TV Studio. This has been described as typical #feelghana moment.
Watch and enjoy below…
The lyrics to the “Palm Wine Music” version of the popular carol is as follows:
On the FIRST DAY of Christmas my true love gave to me, A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE!
On the SECOND DAY of Christmas my true love gave to me…, PAYA NE ANWAMO … , and a partridge in a pear tree!
On the THIRD DAY of Christmas my true love gave to me…, FANTA NE NKATIE… , Paya ne anwamo, and a partridge in a pear tree!
On the FOURTH DAY of Christmas my true love gave to me…, K)T) NE ABENKWAN, Fanta ne nkatie, Paya ne Anwamo, and a partridge in a pear tree!
On the FIFTH DAY of Christmas my true love gave to me… KONTOMIRE, KYINGOM (chewing gum) NE ALEWA, NKATIE, NE K)K)) A YATOTO, and a partridge in a pear tree!
Below is an extract on unique Ghanaian music by Prof. J.K. Anquandah.
Ghana is par excellence a nation of music. Every sphere of Ghanaian life-style throbs with music.
At the naming ceremony and the puberty rite, at the betrothal and the wedding, at the market and on the farms, at the blacksmith’s and the potter’s factory and at the beach fishing scene, at the village story-telling scene at night, at the chief’s durbar and the annual Yam Festival, at the traditional priest’s shrine or in the Christian church, at the social gathering or in the nightclub, music-making is ubiquitous.
Ghana’s contemporary musical world is characterized by an array of indigenous and foreign music types, employing local and foreign styles, techniques and instruments. There are ancient traditional instruments some dating back to 500-1000 years, such as the Seperewa, Adenkum, Dawuro, Akasa and the Ashiwa, the Nnawa, Odurugya and Atenteben
And there are foreign instruments such as guitars, trumpets, organs, pianos, saxophones and clarinets which have been introduced recently into the country. Today, the very imagination boggles at the fantastic array of music varieties produced by Ghanaian dance bands, choral groups, church musical groups, traditional recreational groups, funeral groups and royal music groups.
During the last half century, Ghana’s creative composers have sought to identify the country’s unique qualities of indigenous music and develop them. One such quality involves the technique known to musicologists as “contrapuntal.”
In such a musical type, each drum plays its own part and yet all the drums combine to form one unit, there is also a voice interplay of solo and chorus, with one calling and the other responding.
Ephraim Amu, Ghana’s celebrated composer, in experimenting on the contrapuntal concept, married Western type of harmony to traditional Ghanaian rhythm and produced at least a dozen musical compositions which world musical critics have adjudged as master pieces.
These include Adawurabome, Meda Preko, Nkradi, Alegbegbe, Yaanom ebibirima, Momma yenkoso nfro, Tete wobikyere, Konakatutuw, Miva miva, and Bonwere Kente.
This article examines some of the rich traditional sources which Ghanaian music-makers have tapped in order to make such an important contribution to the world’s musical heritage.
Ghanaian traditional music can be grouped into two major families, first, music for entertainment or recreation, and second, institutional music performed as part of social, religious, cultural or royal political functions or celebrations. Recreational or entertainment music seems to have the greatest variety of musical types employing varied instruments and also, quite, naturally, has the most popular types of music.